Broncs scare No. 2 Texans with stellar first half

NMMI's Isaiah Francis with a steal against the Texans. Photo courtesy Shutternut
NMMI's Isaiah Francis with a steal against the Texans. Photo courtesy Shutternut

NMMI Sports Press

It was a classic 'tale of two halves' again for New Mexico Military Institute's juco basketball team, as the Broncos fell to South Plains College, 84-61.

After leading by two at halftime Odessa College on Monday, NMMI dropped that road game, 71-58.

At home against the Texans, the Broncs went toe-to-toe with the NJCAA's No. 2-ranked team, and held a six-point lead late in the first half.

NMMI overcame an initial 8-point surge by the South Plains to start the contest, battling back to an 18-18 tie at the 11:43 mark after a free throw by freshman forward Anthony Mensah.

Less than 30 seconds later, back-to-back buckets by freshman center Zeontay Anthony, both assisted by fellow frosh guard Keith Deloatch, gave NMMI a 22-18 lead.

That six-point NMMI lead, 28-22, came with 6:41 left on the clock, but the Broncos couldn't hold it, trailing 38-35 at halftime.

NMMI freshman forward Cyriaque Foucart nailed a trey to start off the second half, tying things up, but the Texans countered with nine straight points.

The Broncos managed to close to within four, 49-45, after a three-pointer by freshman guard Jermane Carter, but continued hot shooting by SPC  - 65% from the field in the second half, compared to NMMI's 28% - allowed the top-ranked Texans another conference win.

"We have improved so much since the beginning of the season," said head Bronco coach Sean Schooley. "We just faced the two best teams in the league in back-to-back games, and in those two games, we've figured out how to play for the first 20 minutes. This shows that we can compete. Now we just have to show that we can compete with teams down the stretch."

NMMI freshman point guard Isaiah Francis led all scorers in the game with 20 points.

"Isaiah's a freshman point guard with tremendous energy," said coach Schooley. "He came out rolling tonight after struggling at Odessa. He's learning and getting better. We just need to continue to teach him how to be a complete point guard all the time."

Teammate Carter posted 12 points and led the Broncos in with seven rebounds, and Foucart also put up double figures with 10 points.

With the loss, NMMI moves to 5-12 overall and 0-4 in conference. Their next game will at 6:00 PM CST on Monday, Jan. 14 at Midland College.